Who Shall Dwell?

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Who Shall Dwell?

Post  dove on Thu 07 Feb 2008, 6:27 pm

One of the first things King David determined to do after becoming king of Israel was to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. In his zeal he failed to follow God's law concerning how the Ark was to be moved, with tragic consequences (cf. 2 Sa 6:1-19). Many Bible scholars believe Psalm 15 was written by David shortly after God "smote" Uzzah for touching the Ark, and perhaps Uzzah's death and David's pondering of it caused him to begin Psalm 15 with a two-part question directed to Jehovah: "Who shall abide" (sojourn) "in thy tabernacle" (the tent and meeting place of God with his people, the refuge and dwelling place of the righteous)? "Who shall dwell" (settle down, not be removed; be at rest, at peace and in security) "in thy holy hill" (the most holy or most pure, inhabitable sites, in the heavens, made holy by the very presence of God)? It is a fearful thing to approach God, and David was likely quite unnerved by Uzzah's death. All they had been trying to do was to bring the Ark to the temple in Jerusalem, but they had gone about it improperly, choosing to take the easiest way for them instead of the way God had instructed. David probably thought long on what it all meant before answering his own questions.

He begins in general terms in the first half of verse two with a description of a true worshiper as one who walks uprightly and works righteousness. He follows in more detail in the second half of verse two, through the first half of verse five, listing eleven specific behaviors. David then closes this psalm with the declaration that the one w ho does these things shall never be moved.

Who may abide in the Lord's tabernacle? Who may dwell in his holy hill? Tabernacle and holy hill are interchangeable words describing the focal point of Israelite worship the dwelling place of God. Since no one could actually take up residence in the tabernacle, David's inquiry might be paraphrased as "Whom will you accept when he comes to your house, O Lord?" What David is asking is, "What qualifications are needed before one can approach God?" After all, God killed Uzzah for merely touching the Ark while attempting to prevent it from falling off the ox cart. Therefore, what kind of life is pleasing to God? What are the qualifications for entrance into God's presence?

The real meat of this psalm is contained in the answers to what constitutes a life pleasing to God. In general terms it is "He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness," but what does that mean? According to W.E. Vine the word "walk" means "to go, walk, behave." In other words, walk is a metaphor for how we live our lives. We do so by making a series of choices. There are the steps that constitute our walk. The word "uprightly" means "blameless, complete, sincere, perfect, having integrity; what is complete or entirely in accord with truth of fact." To be upright, or blameless means our choices are in accord with God's Word rather than "what is right in their own eyes" (cf. Judges 21:25). Working righteousness means the things we do are done according to God's standards like how David learned to move the Ark. The Israelites weren't supposed to take the easy way and put it on an ox cart. The priests were commanded to carry the Ark on their shoulders. To work righteousness embodies all that God expects of his people: How we judge, deal, sacrifice and speak. The example of the priests carrying the Ark is another lesson to be learned. It is a picture of how we are to carry the good news that God wants to forgive sinners. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, the focus of getting the gospel out is that we do it. We carry the message on our hearts. We do the work of righteousness. We don't put it on an ox cart and let someone or something else bear it.

From the last clause of verse two, through the first half of verse five, David cites eleven specific behaviors of the life that pleases God. A true worshiper is first honest with himself. God is looking for people who will be genuine, people who will be honest in their actions and in their hearts. It is not only the image one projects to others that God is concerned about. He wants us to learn to speak the truth on the inside of our hearts as well. Are you facing a critical life problem or struggling with a "secret sin?" If so, do you admit it and seek God's help? Sometimes a person can have a serious problem; yet live in a fantasy world, telling herself that everything is going to be fine, when the reality is there are things in serious need of being fixed.

The true worshiper does not backbite with his tongue. "Backbite" simply means "to foot it," to go about being a tale bearer or slanderer. He does not "do evil" causing injury, distress, or misery to his neighbor. Slandering, telling stories, and gossiping about others can cause great harm. Jesus summarized the Las as love to God and neighbor (Matt 22:37-40), and Paul said love demonstrated toward a neighbor fully satisfies the Law (Rom. 13:6-10). When we fail to love, we are breaking God's law. So, examine your attitude and actions toward others. Do you build people up or tear them down? Words are powerful, and how one uses them reflects on his relationship with God. Watch out for what you say and how you say it. Perhaps nothing so identifies Christians as their ability to control their speech refusing to slander, ignoring gossip, speaking out against sin, and guiding the faithful.

The true worshiper despises a vile person, but honors those who fear the Lord. That is not a popular stand in today's society. We feel pressured to be "PC" politically correct when what we ought to be is BC Biblically correct. A vile person is someone who is rejected, loathed, despised, and regarded with contempt or disdain. This is not a license to judge others, but rather to be observant of how one conducts himself. Do you see someone openly practicing homosexuality? Do you know of a co-worker who spends his time looking at pornography? There are just two examples of vile people. God loves them, but it is still important to him that we call bad things bad and good things good. Homosexuality is not an acceptable "alternative lifestyle." It is sin. Spreading or viewing pornography is not "exercising one's right of free speech." It is sin. David instructs us to honor those who fear the Lord. To honor means just that: to make honorable, honor, glorify. To fear is to revere, stand in awe of, giving honor and respect. It is not wrong to have heroes. Just have the right ones. At one time or another most of us have tried to impress friends by name-dropping. If we have personally known a famous person, for example, we may casually mention this fact to others in an attempt to impress. True saints are not necessarily famous, but they live as God desires. Seek the company of those who can build you up spiritually, those who are committed to God and have the right perspective on life. Make them your heroes. Honor them.

The true worshiper's upright character is illustrated by his unwillingness to go back on his word, even if he has sworn to his own detriment. To swear is to make an oath. To hurt is to injure; and change means to change, move to and fro, or alter. Chapter 9 of Joshua tells the story of how the people of Gibeon tricked Joshua. In verses 18-20 we see that even though Joshua and his advisers made a mistake in making an oath to protect the Gibeonites, they kept their word. The oath was not nullified by the Gibeonites' trickery. God commanded that oaths be kept (cf. Lev. 5:4; 27:2,38), and breaking an oath was a serious offense. This should encourage us not to take our promises lightly.

The true worshiper does not loan money at interest to the poor. An interesting nuance of the meaning of "interest" is "something bitten off." Think of it as asking for a cookie, and the person giving it to you always takes a big bite out of the cookie first. A person who exacts usury is trying to make himself rich at the expense of others. The true worshiper does not take bribes or hush money against the innocent. In other words, he can't be bribed to hurt an innocent person. The Law tells us that taking a gift blinds the wise and perverts the words of the righteous (cf. Exo 23:8). Hebrew law is noted for fairness toward the poor, and God insisted that the poor and powerless be well treated and given the chance to restore their fortunes. Some people are so obsessed with money they will change their God-given standards and lifestyle in order to get it. If money is a controlling force in your life, it must be curbed, or it will harm others and destroy your relationship with God. We must reflect on God's concern for others by helping, rather than hurting, those less fortunate than ourselves.

All these are not things that please God (cf. Psa. 101:5-8). We can't compartmentalize our ethics! We are accountable to God in both our home and our public responsibilities. We must not tolerate the slanderer, the proud, the deceitful, or the liar. Whenever we have the opportunity we should search out the faithful to take public responsibilities.

The true worshiper reaps a blessing. This psalm ends with the declaration that the one who does these things shall never be shaken, moved, or overthrown. He does not deviate from the right course, is not moved or overthrown because he is privileged to draw near to God (cf. Psa 16:8). He is the blessed man of Psalm 1 who prospers in everything he does.

Similarly, Peter gives us a list in 2 Pe 1:5-7 of the qualities we as Christians ought to be cultivating in our lives (faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity). Then in the second half ov verse 10 he says, "If you do these things, you shall never fall." Sometimes we have this mistaken idea that once we have come to trust in Jesus, all of our problems will go away. Then we are surprised blindsided even when we get into trouble with our sin. The qualifications that both David and Peter list for us are practical and important to the stable walk of a Christian.

The Law of Moses contains 613 commandments about pleasing God. In Psalm 15 we have seen David simplify it to a list of eleven. Jesus simplified it even more to two: loving God and loving your neighbor (Matt 22:35-40). Yet even with these things we find we fall short. Not one of us can meet these qualifications in a way completely acceptable to God, and he knows that. That is the bad news. The good news is that because he knows it God sent his Son to pay the penalty of our sins for us. Jesus died on the cross in your place so that all of your sins would be forgiven and you could have a fresh start with him. In John 6:28-29 we see an instance of Jesus being asked about these issues, and of his answer:

(28) Then they said to Him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God?
(29) Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.

When we come to trust in Jesus (and that involves much more than merely believing in him), trusting that he has paid for our sins, God is well pleased.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com

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Re: Who Shall Dwell?

Post  sunshine307 on Fri 08 Feb 2008, 4:48 pm

Wonderful article and very well explained who true believer is. Back biting is really a menace and true believers should never indulge into such activities. This is a wonderful article that will surely help believers to understand what our God wants from us.

In Christ

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Re: Who Shall Dwell?

Post  blessed4ever on Fri 08 Feb 2008, 8:23 pm

dove wrote:The Law of Moses contains 613 commandments about pleasing God. In Psalm 15 we have seen David simplify it to a list of eleven. Jesus simplified it even more to two: loving God and loving your neighbor (Matt 22:35-40). Yet even with these things we find we fall short. Not one of us can meet these qualifications in a way completely acceptable to God, and he knows that. That is the bad news. The good news is that because he knows it God sent his Son to pay the penalty of our sins for us. Jesus died on the cross in your place so that all of your sins would be forgiven and you could have a fresh start with him. In John 6:28-29 we see an instance of Jesus being asked about these issues, and of his answer:

(28) Then they said to Him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God?
(29) Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.

Informative article and I learnt so many things in this article that I never knew of before. Thank you dove for posting it here.

God bless

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